Boxing and Related Haunts

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Variations on a Theme
Tags: , , , ,

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The  story “Never Thrown a Punch” inspired me to write about my meta-experience in the boxing demimonde.

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Boxing and Related Haunts

by

JJ Przybylski

You see what you want to see, sure.  But you also see what you’re fated to see.  All of which begs the question: why does one pug experience boxing as a Holy Innocent and another pug experience boxing as a bedevilled voyuer?

“Never Thrown A Punch” brings to mind my own story.  Unsatisfied with turf fights in Rustville, I had one under-the-lights fight in Hollywood, Florida.  The headliners were two golden-gloves champs.  The winner was a brutally handsome whitekid who soon went on to murder his girlfriend, escape from jail, and be recaptured on an airfield in the bush while the getaway plane was warming-up.

His dad was a golden-gloves champ too.  He’d masterminded the escape.  I remember being with them in the locker room, watching the dad cutting the tape on his son’s hands after the victory.  The pride.  The intimacy.  The raw beauty.

Later on, I saw the winner with his raven-haired girlfriend at the concession stand. Backlit by greasy lights and raked by shadows, they nursed a Pepsi-Cola.  They seemed too delicate with each other.  They seemed to be foretasting disaster instead of god-like victory.  What could be so  deeply spoiled, so internally malignant, that it couldn’t be cured by a conquest that pointed upwards to the US Olympic Trials?  Personally, I hated boxing but it was something that I had to do.  Fate dictated it, just as fate dictated that I  make a study of the reticent lovers whose story would unfold in the back-pages of the local papers.  They had an afterglow whose tarnish I  couldn’t put into words. Thus my quick eye preceded my sluggish talent.

Boxing packs a punch. I’ve had my bell rung inside the ring and I’ve had my bell rung outside the ring.  They’re phenomenon of different orders: physical and metaphysical. One disorients physically.  One orients metaphysically.  I wasn’t born to box even though my dad was an amateur with 60 fights. Rather, I was born to force myself into the boxing demimonde in order to behold stunning things  that taunted my art of explanation.  Again, this is how vocation precedes sluggish talent. It’s also how resonant moments that remain fresh-unto-death predicate many passing  bouts with oneself while slogging through life as a writer, a man-of-faith or anything else. Learning this truth was my real education.  It had little to do with learning hooks and upper-cuts.  It had little to do with testing  courage and taking my proper place amongst good sports.  It had quite a lot to do, however, with resisting the fraternal pull of hustlers of every color, stripe and counterfeit.

I had an “appointment” to be on the undercard that night in Florida. I’m 100% certain that I’d  trained for it since being handled by a priest, whereas I’d only trained  5 months with a punchdrunk Army vet for my debut in the ring. No sporting poet has written about the “touch” conferred by pedophiles in God’s perverted corner.  They restain your soul a darker shade of Fallen. They put a counter-spin on your spirit, too, that gives forbidden knowledge its own twist and aura. A writer of Nietzsche’s revolting vigor or Villon’s criminal mirth would be thankful for the jolt. That’s why I’ve always thought that it would be sissy-pink to go to a shrink.  Real men don’t do it.  And neither do their sons who have ambitions to be unreal writers who animate their material with inklings of heaven and hell.

In any case, I  had a multi-level appointment to be on the undercard that night in Hollywood, Florida.  I had  sparred with the Black champ at the Fort Lauderdale YMCA, on his off-days when he wasn’t training  at the legendary 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach.  I met the White champ, as I’ve mentioned,  in the locker room in the Hollywood arena. All in all, I had the inside track on a titanic battle between many worldly things.  A battle betwen the races, a battle between country-boy and city-kid, a battle between studs of the same weightclass, rank and fame pedaling circuit. And I had an inside-the-inside track on what I’d like to call a prescient spiritual vein. But it was probably just a low-grade psychic receptivity,  bequeathed by the diddling priest, to  auras that only appeared to be silver-gold halos.  Father-son love.  White knight and raven-haired damsel love.  Legendary lineal love.

Love of expert destruction, too.  Think  of the the higher-animal magnetism of  the renegade USN Seal who can almost, but not quite, match his personal code to the governing law. He passes before your eyes like a mere trouble-shooting mechanic on his way to a blast-furnace in Rustville.  You see what you want to see.  You see what you’re fated to see.  And, expounding upon the latter, you see what you can see by “virtue” of a  haunting familiarity. So I saw tragedy from the very start, in the germ of an otherwise winning character, before it festered and popped. The fatal clusterfuck became a time-released tale in the local papers. The crime-of-passion.  The jail-break. The recapture.  The tailoring to a just end.

To write the entire episode off as the foibles of low-lifes, the foul ecstacies of White Trash,  would be to miss the smart cut of father/son, the strained public poise of the lady in question, and the Shakespearean hint of the dynasty question gone mad. There is also the Shakespearean arc, lifted from The Fall of Man  and the Birth of Christ, of order ruptured and order restored. All of which I’ve come to realize after the event as a terribly sluggish writer.  A meatball talent and, in my dreams, the pride of Rustville.

I learned, through boxing, one  thing:  I have a third-eye with a “telling” speck of dirt in it.  This optic separates me from the Holy Innocent.  For better.  For worse.

I won my match, by the way, against a greaser from New York.  But that’s a menial story.

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